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Subject: The Gettysburg Gospel rss

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Daniel
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How Lincoln forged a civil religion of American nationalism:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/gettysburg-g...

This a great article about how the government applies religious language to itself and promotes a civic religion and mythology- and specifically how good ole' Abe paved the way in centralizing the state and creating a mythology to make everyone obey.

Quote:

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has achieved a status as American Scripture equaled only by the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and Washington’s Farewell Address. In merely 271 words, the wartime president fused his epoch’s most powerful and disruptive tendencies—nationalism, democratism, and German idealism—into a civil religion indebted to the language of Christianity but devoid of its content...

...One hundred and fifty years ago, President Lincoln, in the midst of a long and brutal war, deployed a powerful civil religion, civil history, and civil philosophy to superimpose one reading of American history onto any competitors. Ever since, generations of Americans have come to believe that we have always been a democratic nation animated by an Idea. The alternatives have been excluded from the national creed as heresy. The way most Americans today interpret the Declaration of Independence, the purposes of the War for Independence, the principles that underlie America’s Constitution, the causes and consequences of the Civil War, and the calling of the propositional nation to the rest of the world comes largely from the Gettysburg Address. To the degree we allow Lincoln’s words to mediate how we read American history, they will continue to settle, preemptively, the most contested questions about America’s origin, purpose, and destiny.


For a podcast about this article check this out:
http://tomwoods.com/blog/the-gettysburg-address-and-the-amer...
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William Boykin
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Lincoln might have presided over the creation of a secular religion in the United States, but he certainly wasn't the only person responsible for it.

American clergy- both in the North and in the South- have more than their fair share of blame for the conflation of Nationalism with Christianity.

A good look at this subject is Harry Stout's Upon the Altar of the Nation- A Moral History of the American Civil War.

Darilian
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Walker
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"The significance of a person's life is determined by the story they believe themselves to be in." - Wendell Berry "If nothing lies beyond the pale of death, then nothing of value lies before it." - SMBC
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There is certainly a human tendency to make gods to fill the world with.
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Ken
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It hardly started with Lincoln. The way people viewed (and still view) the founders can border on idolatry. Why do you think it was almost 150 years before a president broke Washington's example of two terms?

Maybe you should look for some history that isn't designed to reinforce your world view?
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Conservatism and religion joining up often leads to a kind of religious nationalism. I can't count the number of times I've read someone who would otherwise baulk at the idea of perfect things being created by anyone other than God, refer to the constitution or the US founders as such.

I'd guess a lot of it comes from the myth-making that surrounds the foundation of the US. But I also think it might be a problem that is easier to slip into with constitutional and presidential type systems.

I'd also say there's a fair bit of idolatry of the Bible in certain (not only, but typically US) forms of Christianity too.
 
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Lincoln was a liberal.
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49xjohn wrote:

Lincoln was a liberal.



It is still strange how often Republicans try to claim Lincoln as their own. Or that the Republican party today is remotely the same as the mid 1800s one.


Laughable at best. Testament to how much people read I guess.
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What a bunch of nonsense.

There are only two religious words in the Gettysburg Address: consecration and devotion.

Consecration in the speech refers to the ground on which soldiers fell and lay buried. That is a cultural concept as much as it is a religious one. Don't mess with the dead.

Devotion has long attained a secular definition. One can be devoted to a task without any religious undertones whatsoever. The devotion Lincoln calls upon here is for freedom and democracy.

I find it very hard to believe that anyone can take offence to these two concepts, unless they think it takes no effort at all to uphold the validity of human rights or they view Lincoln as some monstrous boogeyman, in which case every word coming out of his mouth is evil.

The Gettysburg Adress is so popular precisely because it is abstract, universal, idealistic and non-controversial. To criticise it for it being that is missing the point completely.

Quote:
Ever since, generations of Americans have come to believe that we have always been a democratic nation animated by an Idea. The alternatives have been excluded from the national creed as heresy.

What are the alternatives? I tried to find out by looking at the author's other articles. In one about American exceptionalism he has this to say:

Quote:
The old exceptionalism was consistent with the ethos of American constitutional democracy; [it] was an expression of and a means to sustain the habits of a self-governing people

"A democratic nation animated by an Idea"?
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jeremy cobert
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Altair IV wrote:
Or that the Republican party today is remotely the same as the mid 1800s one.
Laughable at best. Testament to how much people read I guess.


Agreed. The Democrat party of today is vastly different then it was then. for example back then they wanted blacks in physical chains all while electing racists to their party top positions.

Today they only want people in economic chains and they got rid of their senior ranking grand Klegal all the way back in 2010 ! RIP Robert Byrd the conscience of the senate !

Stay classy my revisionist friends, stay classy !
 
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Boaty McBoatface
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jeremycobert wrote:
Altair IV wrote:
Or that the Republican party today is remotely the same as the mid 1800s one.
Laughable at best. Testament to how much people read I guess.


Agreed. The Democrat party of today is vastly different then it was then. for example back then they wanted blacks in physical chains all while electing racists to their party top positions.

Today they only want people in economic chains and they got rid of their senior ranking grand Klegal all the way back in 2010 ! RIP Robert Byrd the conscience of the senate !

Stay classy my revisionist friends, stay classy !
What do you think wager slavery is?
 
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jeremycobert wrote:
Altair IV wrote:
Or that the Republican party today is remotely the same as the mid 1800s one.
Laughable at best. Testament to how much people read I guess.


Agreed. The Democrat party of today is vastly different then it was then. for example back then they wanted blacks in physical chains all while electing racists to their party top positions.

Today they only want people in economic chains and they got rid of their senior ranking grand Klegal all the way back in 2010 ! RIP Robert Byrd the conscience of the senate !

Stay classy my revisionist friends, stay classy !


Eh...you don't know what you did there. It IS funny, but not in the way you think.

Also again the classy thing only works if you have it to begin with. You can't shame with a fake title neither of us have or aspire to.
 
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Ken
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slatersteven wrote:
What do you think wager slavery is?


Addiction to gambling is a terrible thing.
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Boaty McBoatface
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perfalbion wrote:
slatersteven wrote:
What do you think wager slavery is?


Addiction to gambling is a terrible thing.
So JC what do you think?
 
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Interdum feror cupidine partium magnarum europae vincendarum
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jeremycobert wrote:
Stay classy my revisionist friends, stay classy !


That is the funnest thing I've read all week.
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